Saturday, November 13, 2010

Glad Dollar Fox is Close to Home

Tommy Donoho writes songs that sketch the familiar edgy geography of places like the Missouri River, the house around your corner, roads, this city; the Bottoms on up top and west to the Flint Hills. I’m glad Tommy and Dollar Fox stay close to home with their art, but I suspect that the tugging kinship of Nashville and Austin and roads in-between will see Dollar Fox taking this sound and their stories on a few journeys.

That’s OK. Foxes are territorial and this Dollar one seems anchored to Kansas City but with a long chain. Their release party, this past first Friday at the Good Ju Ju was really good. They played amid the vintage furniture, brick a brack, the bricks, with weird green balls hung over them. They shared this album of eight songs for the first half of the show. Sangria in big pitchers, spicy dip, cheese, Tommy’s Mom smiling and swaying in the front row, kids runnin’ around, and the warmth of a ton of friends. They ended with a fun cover of my favorite river song, "London Calling"...we do "live by the river", after all... phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust, thankfully.

Recorded at the “Good Ju Ju” in the West Bottoms, their new release “Close to Home” has a crisp sound that reeks of the dusty bricks in the old Columbia Burlap building that built bags for all of that Kansas wheat flour. Try to label this music, if you can. I think T Bone Burnett and Jim Lauderdale would find this authentic taste familiar Americana vintage young wine fresh for sippin’ from a front porch with a whiskey chaser and a half a pack of cigarettes without a filter.

Music can be too filtered, the sound too mastered. Produced, recorded and mixed by versatile Dollar Fox band member, Justin Perry and mastered by Patrick Meagher, these eight songs have an authentic sound; no tricks, no affectation…just “look-you-in-the-ear” honesty mixed with courage. The poetry comes through clear with Tommy’s vocals and the band blends like delicious stew, warm. Pass the whiskey, but don’t pass by Dollar Fox. Give their new record a spin.

“We let that old record spin
Again and again and again…
Let all their words
Say the ones we couldn’t find
…this is my favorite part…
Listen close and you can hear my heart”

From Words in the Dark by Tommy Donoho

Dollar Fox is Ethan Taylor, Justin Penney, Nick Dothage, Ryan Watkins, and Tommy Donoho III

...this album is dedicated to the memory of their fan, Jerry Donoho

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